Snapchat, feeling the heat, will let users opt out of compromised feature

New controls will let people stop themselves from being searchable based on their phone numbers

Snapchat's app on iOS.
Snapchat's app on iOS.

Snapchat, reeling from a recent hack that exposed millions of user names and partially redacted phone numbers of its members, will now let users back out of the feature that hackers abused.

The company also said it would improve some mechanisms, including a tool known as "rate limiting," to combat future attempts to abuse its service.

In August, security research group Gibson Security warned Snapchat of a flaw in its "Find Friends" feature that could allow account details such as user names and phone numbers to be leaked. Last week, the group published proof-of-concept code showing how Snapchat's API (application programming interface) could be abused to expose that information. Then, on New Year's Day, a group of hackers paired the phone numbers with the user names of more than 4.6 million Snapchat users and posted them online. The hackers said that they could complete the partially redacted phone numbers if people asked them to.

The "Find Friends" feature gives people the option of giving Snapchat their phone numbers so other users can find them, if they're in their friends' address books.

In a blog post on Thursday, Snapchat said it would update its app to let users get out of the Find Friends feature so they could no longer be found through their phone numbers. Snapchat did not say when the change would be coming, and could not immediately be reached for further comment. Snapchat also did not say what it would do with the phone numbers of the people who subsequently opted out.

In its latest blog post, the company seemed to distance itself from a previous statement that took a more casual tone toward the incident, instead sounding more serious around its security.

"We want to make sure security experts can get a hold of us when they discover new ways to abuse our service so that we can respond quickly to address those concerns," Snapchat said. Last week, the company acknowledged the concerns, but characterized them as being more theoretical, given other safeguards put in place over last year.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Blog Posts

5 things every business can do to drive brand loyalty

If you’re in any customer-centric role, you’ll likely be familiar with the Net Promoter Score (NPS) – one of the most popular tools for brands to measure their customer sentiment.

Catherine Anderson

Chief customer officer, Powershop Australia

What the modern gig economy is doing to customer experience

Most marketing theory was established in the context of stable employment relationships. From front-line staff to marketing strategists and brand managers, employees generally enjoyed job security with classic benefits such as superannuation plans, stable income streams, employment rights, training, sabbaticals and long-service leave.

Dr Chris Baumann

Associate professor, Macquarie University

The new data hierarchy

We are all digital lab rats spewing treasure troves of personal data wherever we go.

Gerry Murray

Research director, marketing and sales technology services, IDC

Because you are missing the point of the term "disruption"

Sean

Uber for the truckies: How one Aussie startup is disrupting the freight industry

Read more

Absolutely agree with this ... Facebook doesn't care what adds they show. You report an add for fake news/scam and it just remains "open...

Quasi Carbon

Unilever CMO threatens Facebook, Google with digital advertising boycott

Read more

How to create Pinball game in 4 minshttps://youtu.be/S1bsp7del3M

Alex Atmavan

Rethinking gamification in marketing

Read more

True Local - one of the least credible review sites on the entire internet.

MyNameIsStomp

Former Virgin Mobile CMO and CEO joins oOh! as first customer chief

Read more

Data-driven marketing solutions are the way forward to inspire customer engagement. Data should be given a long leash when it comes ident...

Claudia

C-suite perspectives: How Ray White's executive perceive marketing's role today

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in